In a few short days, I’ll be celebrating my one year anniversary in New York.
Yes, 360-odd days ago Esra and I were frantically unloading all the crap in our apartment (including our cat) onto friends, family members and strangers. Over the course of a month we condensed our worldly belongings into a dozen boxes of books and memories, which we shipped piecemeal across the country.
Finally, on 9/9/09, we set off for the airport with suitcases in hand and anticipation in our hearts. “New York,” we whispered, “Brooklyn. South Williamsburg.” Reciting the location of our future home, poring over the pictures we had of our new apartment, searching for any clue about our Great Big Future.
Little did we know our Grand Adventure would become our Last Hurrah, or that three months after our arrival in the Big Apple we would go our separate ways. She would stay in Brooklyn and I would move to Manhattan.
So it goes.
With the first year so quickly gone yet carrying such radical change, I can’t begin to surmise what the next year will bring; nor do I have any wish to.
Last year as I hauled boxes to the post office and FedEx, hauled donations to the LifeLong AIDS Alliance and tried desperately to assess the value of my various possessions, I felt as if I was manufacturing my long-incubating New York dream by hand. It took so much effort to transport myself to the city that I imagined I was creating it around me through the sheer force of my will.
Now that dream is manifest, and desire has passed from the tantalizing-possible to the all-too-real. Last year’s dream is this year’s humdrum day. I am ensconced in a concrete jungle of my own design.
So as the anniversary of my arrival approaches, the bitter wind of nostalgia carries last year’s embarkation to me like a fantasy of long-lost hope; the past ever-lovelier and ever more remote.